If you love food and are diabetic at the same time, life is pretty difficult to handle. Overnight, you find yourself being forbidden to eat sugars, refined carbohydrates, and fatty foods. That means no candy or chocolates, no more grilled cheese sandwiches, and no more french fries. Here’s where sweet potatoes enter.
This humble tuber graces our tables at Thanksgiving, usually smothered in melted marshmallows. And one would think that this sweet-tasting, starchy vegetable is anything but appropriate for a diabetic’s plate.
Instead, researchers and nutritionists believe you ought to consider making this root vegetable a part of your daily diet all around the year (without marshmallow of course). Here’s why they are good.
1. Boosts Digestion
Sweet potatoes are high in dietary fiber, which is an essential nutrient especially if your blood sugar keeping spiking. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate just like starches and sugars. Unlike in the case of refined carbohydrates that are broken
A fairly decent portion of the fiber which is insoluble, passes right through your digestive tract, remaining intact all throughout. Since it isn’t broken down by the human body, it doesn’t even get converted into calories. Plus it helps to bulk up the waste being discharged from your body, thus preventing constipation.
The soluble bits of fiber contained in sweet potato tend to slow down the overall metabolic process. As a result, the carbohydrates you’ve eaten are prevented from being converted into sugars so quickly, which, in turn, keeps blood sugar spikes at bay. 1
2. Controls Blood Sugar-Crashes
Carbohydrates are usually high in glycemic index, which means they are quickly converted to sugars, causing a corresponding spike in blood sugar levels. The dangerous thing about this is
Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are a different type of carbohydrate that ranks much lower on the glycemic index scale. Also, because they’re so high in fiber content, they slow down the overall digestion process, thus slowing down the breakdown and release of sugars from the other foods you consume.
Thus, they are far better in preventing sugar spikes, and therefore, are automatically good for preventing crashes as well. For this reason, eating sweet potatoes in moderate amounts can help keep your blood sugar levels in check and can help you manage your diabetes.
3. Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease
It is a well-known fact by now that people with diabetes are at a higher risk of contracting heart disease. Sweet potatoes are high in potassium content, which neutralizes the adverse impacts of
They also help regulate blood pressure. Besides, sweet potato is also a good source of vitamin B6, which plays an important role in staving off heart strokes and attacks and degenerative diseases.
4. Prevents Cancer
People with diabetes also face a higher risk of cancer.2 Researchers claim that beta-carotene, a type of fat-soluble pigment that can be converted into vitamin A may offer protection against prostate cancer, though the reviews are mixed.3
Harvard’s physicians’ health study, in fact, observed that beta-carotene supplements reduced the risk of prostate cancer by 32%, but this was only noticed in men whose bodies showed low levels of beta-carotene.4
Beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant, meaning it prevents the chemical process of oxidation which is responsible for triggering the development of cancer.5 Beta-carotene is usually found in plenty in fruits and vegetables, and sweet potatoes are the highest ranking vegetables when it comes to this important carotenoid.6
Therefore, it’s safe to suggest that sweet potatoes may indeed, have an important role to play in bringing down the risk of cancer in diabetic patients. This fact, however, needs to be backed by more concrete evidence.
5. Fights Off Inflammation
Remember us mentioning that people with diabetes are at a higher risk of heart disease? You have inflammation to blame for this.7 Consuming too many unhealthy fats is an ideal situation for increasing insulin resistance by triggering chronic inflammation.
Sweet potatoes, however, are an excellent source of choline, a micronutrient belonging to the famous B-vitamin family. Choline is generally available in abundance in eggs and meat and eggs, but it’s quite rare to find good plant-based sources, one of which, is the sweet potato. Not only does choline help with bringing down chronic inflammation, it also helps improve muscle movement, sleep and boosts learning and memory.8
Thus for you diabetics thinking everything in life is depressing due to your disease, think again. Sweet potatoes are there to rescue you from your bland tasting diabetic diet.
|↑1||The Nutrition Source. Harvard University.|
|↑2||Habib, Samy L., and Maciej Rojna. “Diabetes and risk of cancer.” ISRN oncology 2013 (2013).|
|↑3||How Carotenoids Help Protect Against Cancer. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.|
|↑4||On Call: Carrots and prostate
|↑5, ↑6||Antioxidants and cancer risk: the good, the bad, and the unknown. Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund.|
|↑8||Mehta, Amit K., Bhanu P. Singh, Naveen Arora, and Shailendra N. Gaur. “Choline attenuates immune inflammation and suppresses oxidative stress in patients with asthma.” Immunobiology 215, no. 7 (2010): 527-534.|